Are you a small business owner who has a no-fuss, no-frills approach?
If glitz and glam aren’t your thing, then you’re in luck! We found the perfect type of logo for you.
Wordmark logos are a timeless representative for companies across industries, regardless if you’re in tech, fashion, real estate, food, or in a niche so specialized there’s no word to describe you.
Also known as “logotypes”, wordmarks are purely letter-based and only feature the name of a business. We’re talking no images, icons, or even emblems; wordmark logos are stripped down, sometimes even reduced to initials with one to three letters.
However, stripped down doesn’t = boring. Instead, these logos help to increase brand recognition, and they often don’t go out of style because they’re timeless and versatile.
In fact, some of the world’s most famous brands use wordmarks. Think Google, Coca-Cola, FedEx, or any of the following:
What’s cool about wordmarks is that they don’t need a million design elements to make them stand out; they’re memorable for their simplicity, and, if designed right, they can be legible on any medium and logo size.
However, to create a wordmark that gets its message across, there’s one factor that you absolutely must take into consideration.
That’s right – the typeface you choose is key to creating a wordmark that portrays your logo’s personality, as opposed to sporting a logo that sends your audience all kinds of mixed messages.
People have a huge range of associations with the shape of letters, and we tend to connect specific styles with words, traits or objects. That’s why fonts are full of personality, and they can make a large impact on how your audience perceives your brand.
Before you start looking for a font for your wordmark, let’s recap some typeface terminology:
Weight – How thick or thin the characters are in a typeface. Think Bold, Italic, Light, etc.
Kerning – The spacing between letters or characters, with higher kerning putting letters farther apart from one another.
Case – As in, upper or lower; all-caps vs. lowercase only, or first-word capitalizations.
A wordmark with an all-caps font and thick weights will look serious and sturdy; a logo sporting thin letters and a lot of kerning would probably seem intriguing and legible (although too much kerning would give it an unsettling effect). So, it’s important to think about the message you want to send your audience as you play with different typeface elements.
Additionally, there are four main font families used in logo design to be aware of: Serifs, Sans Serif, Slab Serif, and Script. While most logos gravitate toward traditional serifs or sans serif, scripts and slab serifs can give your logo an elegant and even playful edge.
Before designing your own wordmark logo, it’s worth checking out the competition to see how they use various typefaces to convey their own brand message.
Because of the lack of icons or images, many people worry that wordmarks make for boring logos. We’ll show you why that’s not the case below, but in the meantime, here are a few scenarios in which you should think about using a wordmark to represent your business:
If your business is new. When just introducing yourself to the world, it’s not a bad idea to just tell it like it is with your logo. Starting with a wordmark allows you to build brand recognition, as your audience will come to associate your business with the fonts and colors of your logo. As you become more well-known, you can consider shortening the wordmark to a monogram logo with the same colors and typeface.
If you have a short business name, ideally limited to one word. Once a wordmark gets too lengthy, the design looks cluttered, and it’ll be hard to use your logo on smaller surfaces or screens. In other words, long business names can impact the versatile advantage of a wordmark.
If your business name is distinct. Logos emphasize why your business is unique, but this can prove harder to do without any imagery to reinforce the message. However, a distinct business name will do a lot in terms of setting you apart from competitors, and a wordmark will help it stick in people’s minds.
If you’re not color-shy. While typeface is key with wordmark logos, colors shouldn’t be overlooked. A splash of color can be the difference between a forgettable wordmark and one that stands out in people’s minds. Consider using a classic typeface with a color twist, or go with a contrasting palette to emphasize the name of your business.
Let’s take a look at how 13 businesses in a number of industries use wordmarks to show off their brand personality.
So maybe we’re cheating a bit by adding this frame to the mix (after all, didn’t we say that logotypes don’t include images of any sort?), but you can still use this coffee shop logo for inspiration. They stuck with a simple color scheme and threw a type twist into the mix: Thick shadows!
Adding the frame around the business name helps to offset the shadows, visually bringing the “coffee shop” into the mix and creating a funky, versatile logo.
Wordmarks wear a professional hat, and they make the brands they’re representing look distinguished. Simplicity is an advantage here, as you can have a clean look and feel that hints to a reliable and trustworthy brand. You can also add an elegant touch with a script font, while still keeping the design basic (as pictured in the logo on the right).
Remember how we talked about font weights? Well, some logos use a combination of thin and thick letters to create an asymmetrical yet artful design. Contrast is a powerful design tool, and it can do a lot of work for you when designing your wordmark logo – including within your typeface itself.
What do these two logos have in common? For starters, they each opted for a non-traditional font, instead favoring rounded edges and thick, all-caps letters. But where they’re playful with typefaces they’re more conservative with color, balancing the quirkiness with plain old white.
Placing each of these logos on one strong, monochromatic background both allows them to pop off the page and draws your eye to the business name – the whole point of a logotype!
These days, some fonts are so creative that they incorporate small details within each letter. This not only gives the logo a touch up in the funk department, but also paints a bigger picture of what the logo represents.
While this technique wouldn’t work for businesses like insurance agencies or financial auditors, it’s the perfect storm for any business looking to entertain, and of course, make a unique mark on their industry.
In the hierarchy of design, things that look bigger capture our attention more quickly then the smaller elements around them. In this vein, one way to make a wordmark more interesting is to change up the height of some of the letters in your logo. This could mean isolating one letter and putting the business name on a separate line, or placing the important part of the business name in larger letters as pictured above.
And, if you want to really leap out of the box, you can try going with a font that alternates the size of every other letter. Check out how this medical logo pulls it off:
There’s more to a typeface than just its letters; you have all sorts of characters at your disposal! While punctuating logos is not necessarily a design best practice, there are cases in which it can help your wordmark stand out.
Take this math teacher’s logo; she used a typeface that’s reminiscent of the letters on a chalkboard, and a plus sign to drive home exactly what she does.
Just because fonts are basically on their own in logotypes doesn’t mean that they lack in personality. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Some typefaces may seem more straight-edge and traditional while others can be playful and creative. The “G” in this Game Geek logo looks like it’s part of a game itself, while the education logo next to it screams personality and fun.
Wordmarks are the simpler cousin of combination marks, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. With attention to detail and the right font choice in mind, you can create a logo that’s sharp, versatile, and full of personality.
Not sure how to go about it? Check out these 40 awesome fonts for logos and choose the one that matches the vibe of your brand!